Opened in 1924 as Crystal Lake Community High School, Crystal Lake Central offers students a comprehensive 9-12 grade education including more than 200 courses. These include specialized Advanced Placement, dual credit, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) course offerings. The school is consistently ranked among the best public high schools in Illinois. In fact, in its most recent annual ranking of all 677 Illinois public high schools, the Chicago Sun-Times listed Crystal Lake Central as the 150th best school in the state. The school also appeared on the 2014 Washington Post list of the country's most challenging schools.
Along with the other District 155 schools, Crystal Lake Central appeared on the College Board's 2016 AP District Honor Roll for the sixth consecutive year. The honor roll recognizes districts that increased AP participation while maintaining student success rates on the exams. Only 447 districts in the United States and Canada appeared on the 2017 honor roll.
In athletics, the Crystal Lake Central Tigers compete in the Fox Division of the Fox Valley Conference. The school has captured recent state titles in girls' volleyball (2007) and competitive dance (2013). The school has a proud tradition in cross country and track and field, and at one point in the 1980s and 1990s took home 14 out of 15 conference titles in boys' track. The school captured a state title in boys cross country in 1995, took third in 2001, and finished as the state runner-up in girls' cross country in both 2008 and 2011. In 2004, the school's baseball team took fourth place in the state. The girls' volleyball team took home fourth place in 2009 while the wrestling team has finished second twice (2010, 2011) and third once (2009). Meanwhile, the girls' tennis team finished second in the state in both 1976 and 1977.
In the 1930s, Crystal Lake Community High School produced Charlie Behan, a professional football player with the Detroit Lions and a World War II hero who was awarded the Navy Cross for his acts of valor at the Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in May 1945. The school counts former professional baseball pitcher Mike Myers (Class of 1987), former NFL center John Bock (Class of 1989), and McDonald's All-American basketball player Bill Hepner (Class of 1987) among its athletic alumni.
The school offers students more than 30 clubs and activities. These activities include several opportunities to participate in community service, the arts, music, and other specialized interests.
Among many notable alumni, CLC counts NBC 5 Chicago reporter Rob Elgas (Class of 1992), Neon Trees' drummer Elaine (Doty) Bradley (Class of 1997), Broadway actor/singer/dancer Jason Babinsky (Class of 1994), noted computer scientist Jennifer Golbeck (Class of 1995), WGN radio journalist and producer Bob Kessler (Class of 1990), and former William & Mary head men's basketball coach Chuck Swenson (Class of 1972) among its graduates.
Crystal Lake Central has 89 teachers, all instructing in his or her academic major. In fact, 85% hold a master's degree or higher. The school also employs four counselors, two social workers, and one psychologist on its student services team.
Located approximately 45 miles northwest of Chicago, the school serves Crystal Lake and Lakewood. The school is led by Dr. Eric Ernd, who became interim principal in 2017.
CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL BY THE NUMBERS
Enrollment & Staffing
Crystal Lake Central: 1,500
District 155: 6,395
District 155 Average Class Size: 20
Teachers with a Master's Degree or Higher: 85%
Students Continuing Their Education After High School: 90%
In-State Public 4-Year University/College: 16.45%
Out-of-State Public 4-Year University/College: 36.28%
In- or Out-of-State Private University/College: 18.56%
Two-Year Community College: 27.84%
4-Year Graduation Rate
Crystal Lake Central: 97%
District 155: 97%
Crystal Lake Central: 1069
District 155: 1102
2017 Advanced Placement
Crystal Lake Central: 834
District 155: 3,559
Percentage of Exams Earning Honor Scores
Crystal Lake Central: 80%
District 155: 80%